[Therapy with interferon alfa and ribavirin in patients with chronic hepatitis C and normal levels of alanine aminotransferase].
ABSTRACT The aim of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of combination therapy with interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) and ribavirin in patients with chronic hepatitis C and normal alanine aminotransferase (ALT) values. In this retrospective study, 12 HCV-RNA positive patients (7 males and 5 females, mean age 38.1 years), treated between 1998 and 2001, with normal or near normal ALT values on three consecutive occasions and histologically mild disease were identified. During the induction period of four weeks they received 56 MU IFN-alpha 2b and ribavirin 1000 mg daily. During the next 44 weeks they received 3 MU IFN-alpha 2b three times a week with ribavirin 1000 mg daily. Seven out of 12 (58%) patients were HCV-RNA negative at the end of the therapy (end-of-treatment-response) and 5 of 12 (42%) showed sustained virologic response at 6 months. No significant elevation of aminotransferase values was recorded during therapy. Patients with mild chronic hepatitis C and normal ALT levels respond well to combination therapy with interferon and ribavirin, similar to those with elevated ALT levels. As long as the natural history and long-term outcome of these patients are not completely known, this might be a beneficial treatment option.
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ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus infection, a major cause of chronic liver disease, occurs with normal serum alanine aminotransferase activity in approximately 25% of patients. These patients have historically remained untreated but substantial evidence indicates liver damage, progression of disease and impaired quality of life in some individuals. To review the current management of patients with chronic hepatitis C and normal alanine aminotransferase activity. This review represents the summary of discussions at a Clinical Workshop with a comprehensive literature searching of available databases (PubMed and Embase). Current limits defining normal serum alanine aminotransferase activity are not representative of a "healthy" status. Most patients with hepatitis C and normal alanine aminotransferase levels have histologically proven liver damage that, although generally mild, may be significant (> or =F2) in up to 20% of patients and progresses at approximately 50% of the rate in patients with elevated alanine aminotransferase levels. Some patients have persistently normal alanine aminotransferase activity and may have a more benign outcome, but a significant proportion (> or =20%) experience periods of increased serum alanine aminotransferase activity which may be associated with enhanced disease progression. A treatment approach that considers host and virus-related variables and optimizes patient and cost benefits may therefore provide more effective management of patients with chronic hepatitis C and normal alanine aminotransferase activity.Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics 10/2006; 24(8):1133-49. · 4.55 Impact Factor